The Significance of Native Indian Presence in American Literature


  • Manouri K. Jayasinghe Senior Lecturer (Higher Grade), SLIIT University, Sri Lanka



American Literature, Native Indians, Status change, American war of 1812


The image of the Native Indian, was used on both sides of the Atlantic for many years but subsequent to the American war waged against Great Britain in 1812, the Native Indian image was given a previously unseen prominence in American literary works, and this lasted for almost half a century. The reason for this swift change of status of the Native Indians is revealed through the present paper. The works of Irving, Cooper, Longfellow, Hawthorne, and Melville have been referred to in order to strengthen my premise. Hawthorne and Melville use a  technique different from the other authors who focus directly on the Native Indians thus proving their importance in American literature of the early 19th century. In The Scarlet Letter and Moby-Dick or The Whale, the respective authors, Hawthorne and Melville bring out the importance of the Native Indians through the almost imperceptible presence of the Native Indians. To understand this, a basic understanding of the plots being required, the storylines of the novels are concisely unfolded through a narrative analysis deriving from a qualitative approach. This enables the reader to understand Hawthorne and Melville’s approach to establishing the significance of the Native Indians and their sudden boost in status in the American literary sphere.


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How to Cite

Jayasinghe, M. K. (2022). The Significance of Native Indian Presence in American Literature. Asian Review of Social Sciences, 11(1), 59–62.